Quad ESL-2905 Floorstanding Speakers

4.78/5 (9 Reviews) MSRP : $9000.00

Product Description

The new version of the ESL-989.
Maximum Power Output 2N/m2 at 2m on-axis
Sensitivity 1.5u Bar / Volt referred to 1m
Impedance 8 Ohm nominal
Maximum continuous input voltage 10V
Programme Peak (for undistorted output) 40V
Programme Peak (permitted) 55V
Distortion (100dB @1m) - Above 1kHz 0.0015
Distortion (100dB @1m) - Above 100Hz 0.005
Distortion (100dB @1m) - Above 50Hz 0.01
Frequency Response 32Hz - 21kHz (-6dB), 28Hz - 23kHz (usable)
Axis band limits -6dB at 35Hz (3rd Order)
Axis band limits (low level) -6dB >25kHz
AC input 220-240V or 110-120V
Power fuse 100mA anti-surge (100-120V)
Dimensions (H x W x D) 1430 x 695 x 385mm (add 25-55mm for feet)
Weight 34.8kg net

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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Colin a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 22, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I am purchasing the classique 2905's. I would like to put them onto a base plate with small castors. Can anyone provide the overall base dimensions for the base plate and the positions of the spikes so I don't have any clashes with the castor bolts?

First venture into Quads - anxious.......


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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2010

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Richard a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 8, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I suppose it is bit presumptuous for me to review something I do not yet own. Let me explain.

I have Naim kit and my present speakers are PMC OB1i's. Nothing wrong with them, or not until I made the mistake of listening to a pair of 2905's. I had never noticed how coloured my speakers were, nor had I noticed the lack of sound staging or imaging. They were always adequate, not exceptional but similar to every other piston driven speaker I have owned or listened to. This includes some silly priced stuff at Hi Fi Shows.

But these Quads were a total revelation. Never have I experienced just how transparent and holographic my music could sound. The bass was somehow a little lighter, but definitely all there and very clean. Deep bass was firm and significant, just not booming or overwhelming as it can be when my PMCs are placed too close to a back wall or in a corner.

I play older music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Both pop, jazz and classical. I have a very wide range from Beethoven through Miles Davis to Pink Floyd. Whatever was played sounded just right. The images hang there as if the musicians are actually in the room. If you have never heard these speakers, this might sound fanciful, but it is not, I assure you. A wonderful experience.

These speakers are not perfect. Like everything else in life, there are drawbacks. Possibly significant drawbacks to some may be the limit in playback volume. From my experiences, it is more than sufficient. But I am not a head banging Metallica supporter. Also, the bass delivery whilst so fast and uncoloured to my ears, may sound inadequate to those that demand boom-boom sounds from their speakers. To my ears, these are not drawbacks. On the contrary it just reinforces the superlative sound that is available.

Now all I have to do is pay for them. But in anticipation, I have already made some significant changes to my listening room.

BTW, I have been told by Quad that they do not simply deliver and expect you to carry them in and unpack, etc. They actually unpack and position them wherever you wish. I am arranging for my dealer to then do the actual installation and setup.

To me that last bit is important. These are heavy beasts.

If you have never heard them, do yourself a favour and go and listen, listen very carefully and be prepared to be transported into musical paradise.


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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2010

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Leoross a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 14, 2011

Bottom Line:   
For thirty years I have listened to almost nothing but quad esl's and these are the best alround esl of the lot, although the 989 was as strong on imaging, it lacked the taughtness and punch of the 2905's. They are totally transparent abd consequently you just never get listening fatigue, I can't recommend them enough and they are astonishing value. I use Naim CDs, Thorens deck and i pod through Audio research sp 16 and Krell KSA 150. I venture to say that for solo acoustic instruments and the human voice there is no better speaker in any price range. However, there has been a drawback which has been intermittent buzz on the treble panels in one speaker. After 4 months an element needed replacing, under warranty and when returned it still intermittently crackles. I am told by quad that this is a 'common fault ' with this speaker and is to do probably with dampness or moisture in the element causing a shorting effect, hence the buzz. A warm room will cure this. If this is so then this is not a problem, only a minor temporary inconvenience which a quad lover will put up with because of the rewards. I am monitoring this situation and will keep you informed because this may well help other quad lover/sufferers! Keep chasing the butterfly.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2010

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dpaws a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 22, 2011

Bottom Line:   
It's hard to add to what's already been said. Superb speakers that really do fast tight bass! Some thoughts though... room size can be quite intimate, mines 4m x 5m x 3m ceilings, sounds wonderful - with only some heavy cushions in the back corners to kill standing waves. Amps? You need power - trust me. I've tried Graaf GM20 mono's, Levinson ML430, Vitus SS010 but nothing drives them quite like the NAD M2 - a stunning combination and a bargain too! Tweak your speaker cables for taste, I've gone back to Nordost after starting with copper which added just a hint of warmth. Music? Marillion / P.Floyd / Goldfrapp / Bowie / Bon Jovi / Trance / Jazz - anything you can "smoke" to ;) Spend monies on cables - I highly recommend a power regenerator just to nail the input voltage steady. Go treat yourselves or come for a listen! I paid around £4.5k new for mine - shop around and get on the phone!!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2009

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Raj J a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 27, 2010

Bottom Line:   
good day! greetings from Melbourne.
my Quad ESL 2905 speakers were delivered on Friday Sept 24th, have had them running since (72 hours nonstop) they have be run in nicely and sound very warm indeed.

firstly to those who have said that these break easily due to "made in china" are complete idiots! the build quality and craftmanship is second to none, only found on very high end speakers such as Sonus Faber, Wilsons, Genesis audio and the like, these are solidly built and are very sturdy for a panel type speaker. infact these are probably the most sturdiest panel type speaker I have ever come across, other names such as Martin Logan, Magneplanars, Sanders sound, Sound labs, Inner sound etc are equally good, but not close to the 2905's solid build.

secondly: to those who say these speakers have failed and have faulty pannels - please don't lie! you have either abused the pannels by over-driving them or someone else in your household has abused them - again this category of people are idiots! the above two types of people DO NOT deserve Quad ESL's, because thet are IMMATURE!

1. these are extreme fine precision musical instruments! they are for the MATURE MUSIC LOVER who cares for their music and their audio systems! these speakers are not for show offs, loud getto blasters, or how loud can this play... i.e. so called music enthusiasts who don't really listen to music other than passive lsitening perhaps; in other words they are clueless, and sadly you find a lot of these people who have the money to spend on high end audio, but do not have the highend intellect to match up! go get an education!

2. I soent nearly $15 grand (AUD) for these ESL's and I can proudly say that they beat the hell out of speaker systems costing nearly twice that! or way over. I have listened to the following:
Martin Logan evolution II statements in Chicago: very very loud and listener fatigue sets in within few hours.
Sonus Faber stradivari: very nice, smooth and probably the best dynamic driver out there. only draw back they are housed in boxes. not as open as maggies or pannel types.
Wilson X1:outstanding speakers, very smooth and easy to listen to, but there is that boxey effect after some hours of listening
Apogee studio grands: probably my favorite type of ribbon speakers, very nice indeed, can play soft or lound but requires some very heafty amps to make them sneeze!
Infinity IRSV: listen to these in the early 90's can still remember their sound, very wide soundstage and extremely powerful, again requires massive monoblocks that would be ideal to drive these and they are usually tri-amped.
Wilson Beneech Bishop: very good bass & highs, but the mids were no where close to ribbons or ESL type
Genesis 1's and Genesis 300: very cool looks and ok sounds, for the money there are better out there... sorry Genesis fans.
the awesome Klipsh Horn (orginal version): this speaker probably was very easy to listen to, relaxed on the ears and very easy to drive. however they are horns and sometimes have a glaring midrange, although not too bad. preferred the maggies though.
Avant Garde Trio Classico: very annoying, too big and requires massive room to perform well; not my cup of tea at all!
Maggies MG20.1: this was about to be my next purchase-upgrade if you like to call it, until I actaully sat down and did some serious listening to the Quad 2905. as far as the categories are concerned, I personally conclude:
dynamic driver - either Wilsons or Sonus Faber (excellent speakers in it's design & class)
ribbons - Apogees (no longer made although there is some chap in Queensland re-making apogees) for that matter with ribbon designs I would go for Maggies either MG 20.1 or MG3.6
Electrostatic - Quad 2905 period!

3. there are certain things the 2905's cannot do compared to the other types listed as above... but I am not really interested in those other types, since my listening tastes are most suited to Jazz (old & new), live recordings/natural music recordings, vocals from Ray Charles, Toney Bennet, Diana Krall, Cassandra Wilson, Holly Cole, Norah Jones, Rene Marie, Dena DeRose, Melody Gardot, to Michael Buble & Nat King Cole, also instrumentals such as trumpet by Chet Baker or Chris Botti, piano by Bruce Barth, Bill Charlap, Errol Garner, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and the great Ahmed Jamal, and also some easy listening by Tracy Chapman or Nina Simone & the list goes on...

4. to me the Quad 2905 based on my personal music tastes & listening is the best one could possibly ever have! they are the most accurate sounding of all that I have listed. free from any colorations, zeros listner fatigue, zero distortion, full of drive & liveliness, fills the entire room and makes the perfect ambience and soundstage that I have not experienced with any other speaker to date!

5. I guess the magic is in the design, ESL with no cross over = no distortion. also the drive of energy comes from a point source i.e. from one original spot hence the entire specturm of the soundfield is launched into the room without any effort whatsoever. the 2905's are also lightning fast, extremely fast transients and way faster than anything I have currently heard including the Avant Garde Trio's.

6. the 2905's tonal accuracy is second to none! the start/stop, speed acceleration and decay is simply breath taking, leaves you in awe... wondering what they could do this with Quads before...
the soundstage is incredible you can visualize everyone & everything. there are other pannels that will do this be it ribbons from Apogee or Martin Logan or other ESL types such as Inner sound, but there is something they cannot match it's called the "Quad Magic" the essence of the new Quad 2905 magic is simply pure music at its best!

7. the other beauty is that you don't require mega watt amps to drive these gems, just 10V to 30V or so is plenty to drive them to realistic levels - of course depending on your room! therefore somewhere starting at 16watts on tubes to 70watts on tubes would be fine. on solid state somewhere around 30watts to 100watts would be more than enough with good current drive and stable drive capable of going down to 3 ohms.
a simple NAD 35 watt integrated or a 40 watt Musical fidelity will drive the 2905's to glorious levels.

8. but Ah! this is where the Quad ESL magic is! it is not about the watts or power or how loud you can really go ho ho ho... it is about the clarity, finesse, smoothness, & pure musicality that these ESL's can do better than any design I have ever come across. therefore the amplification you match it with, will ultimately determiine the sound you get out of it. if you want pure music with some gusto and balls then perhaps Audio Research or Manley may suit your tastes. if you want something lighter but still have enough of juice to get the bass & lower registers going names such as Bryston, Aragon, Pass Labs or Macintosh will do just fine.
then again like me - if you want clarity, finesses, 3D soundstage, smoothness and very easy to listen to for endless hours, amps such as conrad johnson, golden tube, Quad, Quick Silver, Lam, Audio Note, Sonic Frontiers, Cary and other likes will make these the most pleasureable speakers to listen to and live with.

9. drawbacks: considering what has been stated by other people, and the real problems they have encountered, it remains whether their claims are really true or not... I could think of mainly 2 drawbacks with the 2905's
(1) they do require a lot of space to from the back wall to perform well
(2) installing the stabilizer 10kg bar is a pain in the butt!

summary: if you really like & enjoy your music, appreciate what the artists do in their purest form; just audition the Quad ESL 2905 - you will probably come back with a pair!
cheers to Ken Kessler - probably the best speaker on the planet indeed!
and yes they do bass wonderfully & plenty of too, even way lower than my maggies.
cheers, Raj J

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010

Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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